Harlem Resident Wins NFTE (Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship) New York Metro BizCamp

From June through August, in 10 cities across the United States, including in the New York Metro area, NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) hosted BizCamps® to students, ages 13 to 18, from under-resourced communities. Students created a business idea and then worked to complete a business plan, all the while activating their entrepreneurial mindset.  At the end of camp, young entrepreneurs presented their business plans to a panel of judges in a competition to win seed capital.

The New York Metro BizCamp winner is Melisa Ureña, 17, from Harlem. Melisa, a student at The Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering, won for her business plan for Mel’s Food Green Stand, which offers a large variety of quality food at an affordable rate. The New York Metro BizCamp was held at NYU Steinhardt’s edtech incubator, StartEd, in New York City.

Young people learned how to develop their entrepreneurial mindset, the way entrepreneurs recognize opportunities, implement plans, build teams and overcome obstacles. Students were challenged to create ambitious yet practical plans and encouraged to use their entrepreneurial mindset to dream big and know they can accomplish anything. BizCamp activities included the NFTE curriculum covering topics such as return on investment, supply and demand, opportunity recognition and marketing.  Guest speakers included business professionals who brought the outside world to the BizCamp setting, and field trips included meetings with entrepreneurs at their workplace.

“Summer learning loss can be a serious issue for students in the communities NFTE serves,” said Shawn Osborne, NFTE’s President and CEO.  “With the help of the Citi Foundation we are proud to help address that trend by activating the entrepreneurial mindset in young people through BizCamp.  No matter what path students choose, the mindset will help them create opportunities for themselves, persist through challenges and be successful in the 21st Century innovation economy.”

NFTE BizCamps were held in the Bay Area, Chicago, DC-Baltimore Metro, Los Angeles, New England, New York, Newark, North Texas, South Florida and St. Louis. Lead support for all camps was provided by the Citi Foundation and in many programs Citi employees also participated as volunteers. In addition to New York Metro, other winners of the BizCamps include:

·         Bay Area BizCamp: Jaime Mendoza, 17, and Randy Garcia, 16, from Kennedy High School for their business plan for Zooom, a company that will help other businesses grow by teaching digital marketing techniques that will modernize businesses and help them reach more customers. The Bay Area BizCamp was held at Mechanics Bank in Point Richmond, California. Mechanics Bank was the San Francisco Bay Area community partner. Jamie and Randy will compete in New York City on October 12th at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.   

·         Chicago BizCamp: Alexander Franco, 17, a student at Clemente High School, won for his business plan for Power Pouch, which incorporates flexible and inductive charging technology within a pocket to allow users to have their phone sufficiently charged throughout the day. The Chicago BizCamp was held at mHUB in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago World Business and mHUB were the Chicago community partners.

·         DC-Baltimore Metro BizCamp: Ashon Bennett, 14, a student at National Business Academy, won for his business plan for Future LLC, the opportunity to enhance the human body’s repair and healing factor by sending signals throughout the nervous system and providing state-of-the-art healing. The DC-Baltimore BizCamp was held at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland. DC Public Schools and Prince George’s County Public School were the DC-Baltimore community partners. Additional local support for the BizCamp was provided by Bowie State University.


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·         Los Angeles BizCamp: Taryn Slater, 15, a student at Oakwood Secondary School, won for her business plan for Sweet Time, a baking subscription service that includes pre-measured ingredients, a recipe, and ice breaker note cards that give families questions and conversation ideas that encourage them to bond while they’re baking. The Los Angeles BizCamp was held at Junior Achievement in Los Angeles, California. Junior Achievement was also the Los Angeles community partner.

·         New England BizCamp: Amanda Arcieri, 14, a student at Milton High School, won for her business plan for Snugmug, an insert that goes into a car or chair cup holder and expands it to fit a larger cup or mug inside it. The New England BizCamp was held at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester and Suffolk University were the New England community partners, with additional local support for the BizCamp also provided by Suffolk University. Amanda will compete in New York City on October 12th at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

·         Newark BizCamp: Enyshia Downey, 16, a student at Science Park High School, won for her business plan for Instrumentalists Inspired, which encourages the spreading of music to the Newark community. Filled with outstanding talent and potential, Instrumentalists Inspired offers affordable equipment, services, and events to uplift aspiring artists in the Newark area. The Newark BizCamp was held at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Additional local support for the BizCamp was provided by Rutgers University and MCJ Amelior Foundation.

·         North Texas BizCamp: Amari DeFrance, 14, a student at Seagoville High School, won for her business plan for Amari’s City of Scrub, a residential cleaning service that cleans homes with eco-friendly cleaning products. The North Texas BizCamp was held at P-Tech High School at Seagoville in Dallas, Texas. Additional local support for the BizCamp was provided by AT&T. Amari will compete in New York City on October 12th at the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

·         South Florida BizCamp: Tashai Smalls, 17, student at Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School; Shawn Vilain, 17, student at Booker T. Washington Senior High; and Machelle Wynn, 18, student at Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School, won for their business plan for Lather Skin, which seeks to improve skin care for teens and make them feel better about insecurities they have with their skin. The South Florida BizCamp was held at Empowered Youth at Trinity Cathedral in Miami, Florida. The Children’s Trust and Miami-Dade County Public Schools were the South Florida community partners.

·         St. Louis BizCamp: Carlise Minor, 15, a student at Jennings High School, won for her business plan forBetter Kids Better Adult, which gives victims of bullying an alternative option to suicide with a crafted customized program. The St. Louis BizCamp was held at Normandy High School in St. Louis, Missouri. Boys & Girls Club was the St. Louis community partner.

For more information, please visit nfte.com

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Harlem World Magazine is a lifestyle and brand for anyone who has a Harlem state of mind, dedicated to news, history, the renaissance and stories that celebrate our lifestyle.

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